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Ali Baba to Kick Off Derby Campaign

Promising Derby prospect Ali Baba (pictured) is set to make his first race day appearance in the 3YO event over 1500m following a short break and tough effort when running eighth in the Group 1 2000 Guineas at Riccarton back in November.

Drawing barrier 14, Ali Baba will be partnered by senior rider Craig Grylls who has partaken in plenty of his work at the Matamata track.

“He’s done super since his break and he hasn’t put a foot wrong since being back in work – there is plenty of upside about this horse so it’s exciting to get him back to the races,” co-trainer Chad Ormsby said.

“Having to run fresh up over 1500m, against some fitter horses, is never easy – no to mention the quality of the field. We’re very happy with him and he’ll take plenty from the outing.”

The three-year-old son by champion sire Savabeel will be wearing blinkers for the first time – a piece of gear that Ormsby and Moroney have always been looking to add.

“The blinkers will sharpen him up and I think he’ll find a few more with them on. It’s a good opportunity to get him used to them under race conditions.”

Fellow stable mate, and quality three-year-old, Starstripe will be hoping to make it three wins from four outings when she lines up in the same event on the strong Ellerslie card, although her biggest hurdle is going to be the weather.

“She’s needs good footing and if the track falls into the Slow category we will have to scratch.” Ormsby said.

“We couldn’t be happier with her at this stage. She was set to run in the Royal Stakes, but was scratched because of the track, so hopefully we have a bit more luck this time around.”

“If she can run a strong race tomorrow, we’ll look to head to the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes at Trentham on January 30 over 1600m – that race would be ideal for her.”

[08 Jan 16]

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